The VAMFF (Melbourne fashion festival) program has been released; and while you’ll hear plenty around Melbourne about the major runways, there’s also an impressive list of events that forgo the exclusivity and open their doors to all. Here are 5 top picks of fashion and cultural events that you can see or do for free during LMFF.

LMFF events for free

Free talks at Grace Kelly: Style Icon

Bendigo Art Gallery is hosting an exhibition on the style icon that was Grace Kelly; and as if that wasn’t an alluring enough prospect to get you out of town, there’s also some free talks. On March 16, 2012, Kristina Haugland from the Philadelphia Musem of Art will host a series of talks that celebrate Grace Kelly’s style. Visit

Hermes ‘Hearts & Crafts’ film screenings

Who are the artisans behind Hermes’ luxury creations? This documentary promises to explore the workings of the iconic brand. It’s showing for free at NGV on March 8 and April 10. Visit to book a place.

The Spirit of the Black Dress

Now an annual and much-anticipated fixture on the LMFF program, The Spirit of the Black Dress is a package of 10 dresses designed by 10 emerging talents, beautifully presented and focused on sustainability. Exhibiting this year at The Trust from March 7 to March 20. Visit for details.

Fashion / Love / Forever

The program description has us mildly intrigued: “two exhibitions on the art of the tattoo – one that hides and one that reveals.” With the tattoo having transitioned well beyond the alternative and into the mainstream, this aught to be an interesting (and free) event. Visit the program for details.

Swinging: The Fashion Photography of Brian Duffy

From Twiggy to David Bowie, Brian Duffy pointed his lens at some of the biggest icons of the ’60s and ’70s. From 1 – 29 March, 2012, Sofi’s Lounge on Collins Street will house an exhibition of Duffy’s ground-breaking fashion photography. Head to Level 1 Sofitel 25 Collins Street – it’s free to attend.

Coming up: top picks of ticketed events across the week.

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